Gospel text (Mt 26,14-25):
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went off to the chief priests and said, «How much will you give me if I hand him over to you?». They promised to give him thirty pieces of silver, and from then on he kept looking for the best way to hand him over to them.
On the first day of the Festival of the Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said to him, «Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?». Jesus answered, «Go into the city, to the house of a certain man, and tell him: ‘The Master says: My hour is near, and I will celebrate the Passover with my disciples in your house’». The disciples did as Jesus had ordered and prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, Jesus sat at table with the Twelve. While they were eating, Jesus said, «Truly, I say to you: one of you will betray me». They were deeply distressed and asked him in turn, «You do not mean me, do you, Lord?». He answered, «he who will betray me is one of those who dips his bread in the dish with me. The Son of Man is going as the Scriptures say He will. But alas for that one who betrays the Son of Man; better for him not to have been born». Judas, who was betraying him, also asked, «You do not mean me, Master, do you?». Jesus replied, «You have said it».
«Truly, I say to you: one of you will betray me»
Fr. Raimondo M. SORGIA Mannai OP
(San Domenico di Fiesole, Florencia, Italy)
Today, the Gospel proposes us —at least— three considerations. The first one is that, when our love for God cools off, then our will yields to other temptations, where voluptuousness seems to offer us more savorous dishes while, in fact, they are prepared with degrading and disturbing poisons. Given our congenital fragility, we should not allow the fire of our fervor to cool down, fervor which if not sensibly, at least mentally, links us to him, who has loved us to the point of giving his life for us.
The second consideration refers to the mysterious election of the place where Jesus wants to celebrate His Paschal Supper. «Go into the city, to the house of a certain man, and tell him: ‘The Master says: My hour is near, and I will celebrate the Passover with my disciples in your house’» (Mt 26:8). Maybe, the master of the house was not one of our Lord's confirmed friends, but he must have had a very good ear to be able to listen to his “inside” calls. Our Lord would have spoken to him intimately —as He so often does with us—, throughout a thousand incentives, so that he would open his door. His imagination and omnipotence, which support his infinite love for us, have no limits and express themselves in ways always apt to every personal situation. When we hear his call we have to “surrender”, by leaving aside all sophisms and by happily accepting this “liberator messenger”. It is just as if someone would come to our prison door and would invite us, as the Angel did with Peter, by saying: «Arise up quickly!» (Acts 12:7).
The third motive of meditation is offered to us by the traitor who is trying to conceal his crime before the Omniscient's keen stare. Adam had already tried it, and later on, Cain his son, too, but both to no avail. Before becoming our most exacting Judge, God appears before us as a father and a mother, who do not surrender to the idea of losing their son. Jesus' heart suffers not so much because of the betrayal as it does with the realization that a son is irretrievably going astray from him.